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Meridian Director DAC: Anyone here own one?

post #1 of 115
Thread Starter 

At $600 from a brand like Meridian it would seem to offer great value:

 

https://www.meridian-audio.com/en/collections/products/director/37/

 

I could consider pairing one with say a NAIM SuperNait2 integrated amp.

 

Does anyone here own one? Or own other Meridian products?

post #2 of 115

I have both the Meridian Explorer and the Director.

 

I use the Explorer in the office, it was so good I picked up the Director for my home system when it came out.

 

The Director is quite new, and I am still burning it in. But initial impressions are that it inherits the same sound signature of Meridian, which is neutral leaning towards a bit warm, but with no lack of details or resolution in the top end. You can listen to it for a whole day without fatigue.

 

The key to me getting the Director was not simply due to my owning of the Explorer and liking the Meridian house sound. It is due to the fact that the Director is also driven by USB power. I use the ifi iUSB Power device to power it, and it is giving it the purest DC juice without going for exotic AC power cables, filters, expensive and bulky conditioners and the like. Also the iUSB Power can allow me to unplug my laptop when I need to use it outside, then the Director would still be powered (since the iUSB Power goes between your computer and Director) and my family can still use the SPDIF input to watch TV/DVD/BR or plug in their own computer.

 

Unlike the Explorer, the Director does have Meridian's apodizing filter, so it is recommended to play your music files at their native sampling rates (e.g. Redbook CD 44.1/16), to allow the DAC to do its own thing. I haven't experimented with upsampling either in the player software or not, to see which one sounds better. I guess once the unit has been used for a month I'll start to play with it more to find out.

post #3 of 115
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply!

 

So your source is a laptop? And the Director is feeding what kind of pre-amp or integrated?

 

Any thoughts on pairing the Director with NAIM products?

post #4 of 115

Yes my source is a MacBook Air. I thought by running it on battery power when playing music would give a pretty good and noise-free 5V DC source to the DAC, but the addition of the iUSB Power simply just took it to another level. IMHO, the Director's bundled external USB supply should simply be left in its packaging, and a good USB 5V DC supply be used to fulfill the Director's true potential.

 

I am feeding a Goldnote AP-7 integrated, an Italian made micro component. Interconnect is RCA, Audio Note LEXUS II.

 

I have no prior experience with NAIM products, but have heard them before in a store audition. Last time I heard them, I thought they are musical sounding, but the top end did have a kind of grain that I didn't like. But this experience counts as nothing, so you are encouraged to try them on your own.

post #5 of 115

I also have both the Meridian Explorer and Director, and agree with our comments.

 

I used the Director both in direct USB and also through the Digital Coax connection, via a V-Link 192 converter, which required to use the power supply to connect to the USB port.   Unfortunately, my V-Link broke a couple of weeks ago and I had to revert to using just USB.   I say this because my impression is that I got better sound quality through the Coax input versus USB.   It might be also related to why you are seeing better results when you clean the USB input.

 

Which product are you using when you refer to iUSB power?   I noticed that Meridian will be launching a USB PSU later this month, but it's pretty expensive.

post #6 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by ticos442 View Post
 

Which product are you using when you refer to iUSB power?   I noticed that Meridian will be launching a USB PSU later this month, but it's pretty expensive.

It's the ifi audio iUSB power.

 

http://ifi-audio.com/en/iUSB.html

 

I noticed Meridian will be launching the Prime headphone amplifier with USB DAC and matching power supply, but it is way out of my price range anyway. The iUSB power does what I need and is cheap.

post #7 of 115

Thank you - that's what I suspected.  I should be getting the ifi iUSB power unit later this week myself - so our configurations will be similar.  I am also a Meridian sound fan, from owning both the Explorer and the Director.  I posted a question on a different thread to the reviewer of the Meridian Prime, so that he can compare the sound quality when using the Meridian power supply versus using the iFi unit or similar unit at a much lower price range.  It appears that one of the reasons that the Meridian Power Supply unit will be so expensive is that it have the ability to power other Meridian gear in addition to the Prime.  However, for my purposes I'd rather use something cheaper like the iFi if the end result is going to be similar sound quality.

post #8 of 115
Thread Starter 

A local dealer has offered me the NAIM SuperNait2 + Meridian Director DAC for $5K total. He's essentially offering me $650 off the Meridian. I wonder if I should take it or just buy the NAIM for $4900?

 

I wonder how the Director compares to the likes of other $750 DACs like the Schiit Gungnir, etc.?

post #9 of 115

Just bought the EXPLORER a couple of days ago, and man.... loving the liquidity of the sound (compared the the Dragonfly that I had for the past 12 months)

 

Now I am really really really considering getting the DIRECTOR... I mean, I freaking LOVE how easy it is to listen to the Explorer, and people are saying the Director really is worth the price... I can't help but want one NOW!! lol

 

 

p.s. I seriously do love the sound of the Explorer.. sooo gooooood

post #10 of 115

I have both the Director and the Explorer,  but I'm probably as close to a Meridian fanboy as you're going to find. I am so pleased to find their tech in such relatively affordable products.

At the office, where I do the majority of my listening, I have the Astel & Kern AK120, using optical output into the Director. For amplification I'm using RSA SR-71B into the Senn HD800's. The SQ is in a whole new level compared to the AK120 straight into the amp. 

At home I have a Meridian home theater that is awesome, and the Meridian Media Core 200 as a 'streamer'. My only downside for the MC200 is that it doesn't do multichannel audio. 

I also have the Explorer plugged into my MacBook Pro for nighttime listening mostly through the Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors. 

I'm sure part of my deal is that I equate the Meridian sound with 'great quality'. But for me their products really don't disappoint. I have my eyes open for a used MC200 to replace the Director at work, mostly because the UI, via the iPad app is so much better than the AK120. 

I have verified that the Director also works well on the go with a Morphie Juice Pack for USB power. It's a little large for that use so I don't do that often. 

post #11 of 115

I should compare the SQ of listening with the Morphie Juice pack compared to the AC adapter. If it's that much better I'll buy the iFi, because the JuicePack only lasts about three hours.

post #12 of 115

Have you done a comparison between the Optical vs USB on the Director using a good USB cable?  I currently have the Director and hear a difference between the Optical and USB, but my USB cable is a pretty generic one.  Would a iFi or something along those lines make the USB sound better than the Optical for this DAC?

post #13 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stil View Post
 

Have you done a comparison between the Optical vs USB on the Director using a good USB cable?  I currently have the Director and hear a difference between the Optical and USB, but my USB cable is a pretty generic one.  Would a iFi or something along those lines make the USB sound better than the Optical for this DAC?

What differences do you hear? 

post #14 of 115

There is a noticeable improvement by using battery power over the wall outlet. But It's not near as big of a difference as using the Director or not. The director really makes the AK120 sound like professional equipment. I'll just stick with the JuicePac for now as I rarely listen for more than 3-4 hours in a day. 

I haven't tried USB audio yet. Is it better than optical?

post #15 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Edwards View Post
 

What differences do you hear? 

I felt the sound to be more airier, if that's a term.  I don't know if it's the cable or now.  I do use the USB plugged into the MBP to power the unit instead of the Wall wart.  Not sure if the Notebook USB is cleaner or not.  I'm just wondering if someone has done a comparison with good cables/power between the two inputs. :)

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